Madam C. J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker


December 23, 1867 –  May 25, 1919

A long time ago, on a cotton plantation in Louisiana, a girl named Sarah was born. Her four older brothers had been born as slaves, as had her parents. But thanks to a law called the Emancipation Proclamation, Sarah was the first of her family to be born free.

When the girl was fourteen she moved to Saint Luis, Missouri. There she worked as a laundress for a dollar and fifty cents a day. At night she went to school. At that time, Sarah began to lose her hair, so she experimented with various products and treatments to help her grow again. But none gave the expected result.

What if I could create a special treatment for African Americans? She wondered.

Her husband, who worked in advertising, loved the idea. He suggested that her name should be changed to Madam C. J. Walker to make her products more attractive, and she did so.

Sarah started travelling around the country promoting her hair care line and offering demonstrations of the Walker System: a hair care formula that included homemade ointment (with aromatic oil), hot combs, and a special way of brushing to stimulate hair growth. Her demonstrations became so popular that she began hiring other women to promote their products, and soon the “Walker Agents” were widely recognized.

Sarah’s success encouraged other women to create their own companies, and she contributed to numerous charities and became the first woman to become a millionaire on her own in the United States.

* Excerpted from the book “Good night tales for rebellious girls 2”